Sunday, May 20, 2018
Public safety

Use caution at northbound Starkey at Ulmerton

A left-turn lane has been created to serve the new shopping plaza on the left side of northbound Starkey Road approaching Ulmerton Road. But the lane is easily mistaken for the beginning of the left-turn lane onto westbound Ulmerton. The curbing at the end of the turnout is unlighted, unmarked, unpainted, and unexpectedly dangerous.

Ev Newton

The Doc took a ride on northbound Starkey Road and observed the lane after dark, which indeed misleadingly looks like a turn lane for northbound traffic traveling on Starkey and intending to turn left onto Ulmerton Road.

The unmarked lane abruptly stops at a large concrete island, which serves as an unintended and very dangerous speed hump. The danger is that motorists who are unfamiliar with the construction may slam on the brakes when encountering what basically looks like an obstruction in a traffic lane, or attempt to drive over the island and continue on to the left-turn lane at the intersection of Starkey and Ulmerton roads.

We alerted Pinellas County's Public Works department and heard back from traffic engineering manager Tom Gibson, who told us that a review of the construction is under way and appropriate adjustments will be made to ensure that the turn lane is clearly marked as the entrance to the commercial property. In the meantime, use caution, folks.

I have seen a sign posted on the Memorial Causeway in Clearwater that says to expect delays on State Road 60 beginning Nov. 6, no other details. Any idea what this is about?

Peg Balco

This mystery apparently bugged many readers, who contacted the Doc with the same question. The answer is twofold. We'll start with the Hollywood angle: A production crew was shooting scenes for the movie Dolphin Tale 2 on the Memorial Causeway that week.

Second, last Sunday's TriRock Clearwater marathon and health expo prompted police to put up the message sign alerting motorists, according to a spokeswoman with the city of Clearwater.

After three years of construction, Keystone Road was opened to four lanes of traffic in June. The speed limit on this beautiful connector road has been 35 mph, even though the speed limit on the two-lane section of the road is 45 mph. At the time of opening, we were told that there were some areas that needed finishing touches and would be done within a month and final approval would be granted to raise the speed limit to 45 mph. It is now November and the reduced speed limit is still in place. There have been no workers on the road in weeks. Is this road ever going to be finished?

Selma M. Pringle

Yes, the work will eventually be finished. But not in time for Thanksgiving.

As you noted (and the Doc mentioned in September), although the Keystone Road project in north Pinellas County between U.S. 19 and East Lake Road, which began in 2010, appears to be complete, the speed limit remains 35 mph in some sections due to work that continues behind the scenes.

Once that work is completed and the requisite safety inspections of the construction work are done, the speed limit will be increased to 45 mph.

The most recent traffic advisory update from Pinellas County Public Works put that completion date at Dec. 25.

Email Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Follow @AskDrDelay on Twitter.

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